Christmas is a special time of the year- a time when miracles and all that is good is celebrated and cherished! The Christmas Rose is one of these good things! The Christmas Rose is not actually a rose, but a hellebore that will bloom in the dead of winter in the darkest days and stay in bloom for the rest of the season even when nothing else is blooming! It’s a miracle! In fact, this is what legends are made of. There have been many legends and stories about the Christmas Rose. Here is one version:
The Legend of the Christmas Rose
The legend of the Christmas Rose tells the story of a young shepherd girl. One cold, snowy night in the town of Bethlehem, she watched a group of wise men and other shepherds passing by, bearing gifts for baby Jesus. Seeing all the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought tears to her eyes as she was poor and couldn’t afford any of those things.
And because the winter had been cold and harsh, there were no Christmas flowers to be found. Sadden and heartbroken by her search, she started to weep. She had no gifts to bring the Newborn King, not even a simple flower.
An angel passing by heard her cries and and wanted to provide the little girl with some comfort. He transformed the tears that hit the snow into a beautiful white rose. The angel told her that all the riches in the world couldn’t compare to this pure Christmas Rose, which was a gift of her heart and tears. It was gift she created with love.
The young shepherd girl was overjoyed and took the flower to see baby Jesus.
And so the Christmas rose came to symbolize hope, love and all that is good during the holiday season.
There was also a German poem written in the 15th century about the Christmas rose, titled “Es ist ein Ros’ Entsprungen” (Author unknown). Here is the translated English version:
A Rose has sprung from a tender root,
From Jesus, as those of old have sung,
And it bore a flower,
In the middle of a cold winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
Is Mary the pure, the little flower has brought us.
From God’s eternal wisdom, she bore a child,
And remained pure.
The Flower, so small, whose sweet fragrance fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True man and truer God, helps us out of all sorrows,
Saves from sin and death.
Oh Jesus, until we leave this misery,
Let your help guide us into joy,
In Your Father’s Kingdom, where we eternally praise You.
Oh God, allow us this.
More on the Christmas Rose (helleborus niger):
- It is an evergreen perennial flowering plant which produces large beautiful, showy white flowers that turn pink as they age, along with dark green, shiny leaves.
- Despite its name, the Christmas rose is not related to the rose family.
- The Christmas Rose is native to parts of Europe and can be found growing in mountain woodlands, valleys and alpine grassy areas.
- Many species are poisonous.
- The Christmas Rose is a popular ornamental plant, valued for its attractive flowers and frost-tolerance.
- By tradition, the Christmas Rose should be planted by the door to welcome the newborn Jesus